FORMER Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola and a former Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU) Ojo, Professor Abisogun Leigh, have openly declared that the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of LASU, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun did better for LASU than any of his predecessors.
They gave the remarks separately at a recent valedictory lecture delivered by Professor Fagbohun, who by next Monday, January 11 would bow out of the institution, having completed his five-year single tenure as the eighth substantive vice-chancellor of LASU.
Professor Okebukola, who is currently the Director of Africa Centre of Excellence for Innovative and Transformative STEM Education at LASU was a former vice-chancellor of the university in acting capacity and was there briefly, while Professor Leigh was the vice chancellor from 2001 to 2005.
Others include Professors Folabi Olumide (1983 to1988), Jadesola Akande (1989 to 1993), Enitan Bababunmi (1993 to1996), Fatiu Ademola Akesode (1997 to 2001), Abdul Lateef Hussein (2005 to 2011), and John Obafunwa (2011 to 2015).
Professor Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello had also occupied the office in acting capacity.
The ex-vice-chancellors of the institution said there was no contradiction in their claims as records were there as evidence for all to see.
According to them, their positions are based on the numerous feats which the university had achieved within the last five years of Fagbohun- led administration.
Chief among the achievements, according to them, is the continuous progress being experienced by the university across spheres, including an unbroken academic calendar facilitated by the sustenance of peace, good image, united workers and students, promotion of scholarship, networking, attraction of research grants, winning of laurels.
They said Professor Fagbohun, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has really performed excellently within the spate of five years such that the university is today ranked by the Times Higher Education (THE) World Universities as the second best university in Nigeria, behind the University of Ibadan.
Interestingly, Fagbohun also got accolades for his virtues and the sterling achievements of his administration from the Governor of Lagos State and Visitor to the university, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Chairman of Board of Trustees, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Mr Kashim Imam; Chairman, Lagos House Committee on Education, Mr Olayinka Ogundimu; former Justice of Supreme Court, Adesola Oguntade; wife of the Ogun State governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun; Chairman of Governing Council of LASU, Professor Adebayo Ninalowo and numerous others at many fora .
They said of a truth, LASU had been transformed positively within the last five years, and so were now proud to associate with the university.
Fagbohun, however, refused to claim the glory. Rather, he attributed the success to God and the team- work as well as the unflinching support and cooperation his administration enjoyed from all fronts in the system— council and management members, workers, students and so forth.
He said the collective decision to succeed with the adoption of “We can –make –things- work” spirit was the magic.
In his lecture entitled, “LASU: My stewardship: The Projects, the People, the Transformation”, he said he was particularly happy that LASU was no more branded as a glorified secondary school but a model for other universities, adding that the students graduated in record times with workers performing their roles dutifully.
He said he knew that a vice-chancellor’s job in LASU was quite daunting because the university was often been derailed by disunity, incoherence of purpose and the pursuit of mundane interests by many in the system, saying “But I have to take up the challenge.”
Professor Fagbohun said he inherited 70, 500 students who were trapped under the university’s external system and could not graduate after spending up to eight or more years for four years courses.
He also recalled that no company wanted to partner with the university even as the alumni were not also proud to have any tangible thing to do with the university.
“But today, all these issues have become a history,” he noted.
He then advised his successor not to be derailed but rather be more courageous and determined to take a leap to the next phase of LASU becoming entrepreneurial university and the best in the country.